March 31, 2012

KARR-KAITIN: Supreme Court Shakeup

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After three days of intense oral deliberation, the Supreme Court may have made up its mind about The Affordable Care and Patent Protection Act, more commonly referred to as the PPACA — or, if you prefer, Obamacare. The justices took a preliminary vote on Friday, and the law’s fate could be sealed by now.

After 3 days of intense oral deliberation, the Supreme Court may have made up its mind about The Affordable Care and Patent Protection Act, more commonly referred to as the PPACA — or, if you prefer, Obamacare. The justices took a preliminary vote on Friday, and the law’s fate could be sealed by now.

We won’t know the result until the Court releases its decision this summer. Until then, highly paid political pundits (myself included) will have a lot to write about. I will address the health insurance debate in more detail in forthcoming posts, but here is a quick(ish) overview of what could come from the Court’s decision.

Firstly, what could the Court actually decide?

There are 3 possible outcomes to this case:

1.     The Court decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The mandate is the part of the bill that requires all Americans, with a few exceptions, to purchase private health insurance. The court could take a scalpel to just this part of the bill and leave the rest standing.

2.     The Court could decide that the specific insurance regulations should all go out with the mandate. The rationale for a decision like this is that restrictions like making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to patents with preexisting conditions are not economically viable without a mandate.

3.     The Court could strike down the entire bill. Yup… the entire bill. I think this is the least likely event to happen if the Court were to rule against the Obama Administration. This decision would be a example of radical judicial activism that could very easily be labeled as judicial overreach by a conservative majority.

Each one of these scenarios would have powerful ramifications for all three branches of government.

Noah Karr Kaitin is a junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at nkarrkaitin@cornellsun.com. The Hill is a politics blog that aims to stimulate discussion on today’s most pressing issues,  be they related to Cornell or national affairs. If you’re interested in joining the conversation, please contact thehill@cornellsun.com.

Original Author: Noah Karr-Kaitin